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Angry Mother Earth Is Finally Getting Our Attention


By James Donahue


We remember in 1998 when former Vice President Al Gore was attempting to convince skeptical world leaders about the reality of global warming. Out of frustration he asked one television reporter what it was going to take before people believed it was a real threat.


That happened a decade ago. Since then, Americans elected a Republican president who declared throughout most of his eight-year term that there was no scientific proof that global warming exists. Not only this, but George W. Bush backed away from American involvement in the Kyoto agreement, forged during the years President Bill Clinton and Gore were in power, and dismantled years of environmentally friendly government programs in the interest of big business.


While Bush held that office and the federal government refused to lift a finger to control carbon emissions, many states began acting out of desperation as did leaders of many European nations while they watched the Arctic ice caps melt away, the tundra turn to mud and extreme weather patterns begin to ravage the land. But without the help of the United States as a whole, it was an environmental nightmare in the making.


Now Americans have allowed the pendulum to swing once again, this time electing a Democratic president and a Democratic majority of legislators. Our new president, Barack Obama, says he supports tough new controls on carbon emissions. Democratic legislators are busy working on proposed new environment legislation even as world leaders prepare for an important new meeting this fall in Copenhagen to deal with this problem on a global scale.


And already the old extreme right-wing anti-warming cronies still in power, and who have taken payoffs from big business, are preparing to do battle, just as they have fought against the Obama health care overhaul. Unfortunately, we can expect yet another long and hard-fought uphill battle to force US automakers and industries to do what is right.


The fight might not be as extreme on this issue because world weather patterns have gotten so strange, the storms so fierce, and rains so heavy and the dry spells so extreme that they can no longer be ignored. A lot of news reporters, editors and elected officials are asking hard questions.


This, in effect, is the answer to Mr. Gore’s question. This is what it is taking. The weather patterns, the melting of the ice caps, the fierce winter storms, the intense summer heat, the floods, hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes and blizzards that are sweeping the land, destroying homes and killing thousands in their paths, are at last causing us all to take a serious look at this problem.


The storms sweeping both the east and west coasts of the United States, causing disastrous snow and mud slides and flooding desert regions of Arizona and Nevada, and dumping record snows in New England are too extraordinary to be ignored.


The record number of tornadoes that swept the United States, including such out-of-the-ordinary places like Southern California and Florida, are making people wonder.


That we had a line-up of deadly hurricanes, extreme rainfalls and tropical storms that ravaged the American countryside in recent years, and the super typhoons that have been hitting the Philippines, China, Vietnam and Japan are not normal events. The terrible fires that have burned thousands of acres throughout the southwest, and the extreme drought that has put once prosperous farms out of business are all part of this man-made disaster.


That portions of Europe, India and other parts of the world experienced extreme and prolonged heat waves, and California is failing to get adequate snow pack in the mountains to provide needed water for the farms and cities is yet more evidence that something has gone wrong. There is rarely a day when meteorologists aren’t predicting extreme weather occurring somewhere in the nation or the world.


And there is more. Consider the other cataclysmic events; the massive quake, measuring 9 on the Richter Scale that send a killer tsunami that rolled literally around the world, the 6.2 earthquakes in Costa Rica and in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean quake, and the eruption of various volcanoes in various parts of the world. There has been a dramatic increase in quakes along the so-called “ring of fire” surrounding the Pacific Ocean.


All of this prompted NBC to air a recent documentary that asked “Is something wrong with Mother Earth?” Of course the story concluded with NASA scientist Dr. David Adamec saying: “The world is not coming to an end, and things are fine.”


And Dr. Chuck Conner of the University of South Florida said it was his opinion that the weather is not unusual either. Also, Conner said, “there’s no causal relationship” between the severe weather and the earthquakes and volcanic activities.


The program was designed to quiet the minds of the brain-dead, but slightly alarmed zombies that comprise the majority of the United States population. The trick was to ease their fears and put them back in their easy chairs with a beer in one hand, watching football games on Saturday afternoon.


After all, we don’t want too many people out there thinking about this kind of thing. They might just get angry and do something radical . . . like write letters, picket city hall, or vote for somebody other than sold-out legislators with their hands in the pocket of big business.


So what happens now?


We maintain that more radical weather and more earthquakes and volcanic activity will make the news in the weeks and months ahead. After a while, even the clever talking heads on our television screens won’t be able to still the anxious feeling creeping up the backs of our spines.


Sooner or later, we are going to have to face reality. The sooner we do it, the less sacrifice we will have to make to resolve this growing global dilemma.

Unfortunately, we may already have waited too long.